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Author Topic: Words Without Pictures  (Read 9045 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: December 13, 2007, 10:37:53 AM »
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An article by Christopher Bedford, here:

http://www.wordswithoutpictures.org/main.html?id=2
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2007, 02:22:03 PM »
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I can follow this, but it makes my head hurt. I suspect I can follow it because I have been properly indoctrinated ie, I have an MFA. I'm sure he had great fun writing this, but it is unnecessarily clever to the point of seeming like immature self gratification.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2007, 05:46:39 PM »
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I can follow this, but it makes my head hurt. I suspect I can follow it because I have been properly indoctrinated ie, I have an MFA. I'm sure he had great fun writing this, but it is unnecessarily clever to the point of seeming like immature self gratification.
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Thank you for putting it so clearly, Kirk.

As I tried to read it, I had a nagging feeling that "the emperor has no clothes". But that's what I feel when I try to read "critical essays" in Aperture. I'm not convinced that Photography needs a Body of Art Criticism. And if it does, what I see in Lenswork fits the bill much better.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2007, 07:16:42 PM »
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At least when Mike Johnson (TOP) writes or posts something like this he add the little "warning, satire alert" to the post






oh.... you mean its not satire, how sad....
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2007, 12:45:12 AM »
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oh.... you mean its not satire, how sad....

Maybe it is... or maybe it was meant to be but got waylaid somewhere?  Reading it just about made my head hurt too...

Mike.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 11:13:49 AM »
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Maybe it is... or maybe it was meant to be but got waylaid somewhere?  Reading it just about made my head hurt too...

Mike.
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Congratulations, Michael, at least you were able to read it.

I stumbled, never to recover my step, at the very first sentence. If it has to be read twice to make its meaning clear, then what hope an entire article; masochist Im not.

Trouble is, so much stuff reads like that in photographic articles when galeristas, curators et al attempt to justify their percentage of whatever the game has going for it. Best left strictly alone.

Rob C
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russell a
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2007, 02:05:57 PM »
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I happen to enjoy reading art criticism.  I will say that it is a masochistic activity that has the advantage of leaving no visible marks.  So, as regards the referenced article, I offer the following summary/translation.  

1)  most critics don't have anything to say about what is unique about photography

2)  as an example, Michael Fried's discussion of the work of Thomas Demand focuses on the process of building models of scenes to photograph and not about the photographs themselves*.  This is also true of Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall.

3)  most critics don't really understand photography

4)  photography hasn't had the "advantage" of an authoritarian figure like Clement Greenberg in painting.**    

5)  critics favor work such as Demands because the "railroad modeling" gives them something to talk about

6)  critics need to understand photography better so they can create a critical approach that addresses the medium***



*duh, Demand is of the school of what I call "model railroaders" who build elaborate sets and then simply document them with a photo.  One see this all the time in photo art shows.  This comment is not intended to denigrate actual model railroaders.

** Greenberg jammed his theory down many a throat until some began to gag on it and realized that Greenberg's theory really applied to very few actual works with the exception of those savvy enough to ride his coat-tails for his ensuing endorsement or perhaps absorbed his message as a by-product of sleeping with him.  But the ensuing "range war" inspired acres of print.

*** seems obvious, but I would advise you not to hold your breath.  I say critics will continue to gravitate towards easy narratives rather than tackle the hard stuff.  Time is money.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2007, 02:08:46 PM by russell a » Logged
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